You know when you those scientists in Jurassic Park cloned dinosaurs but they didn’t have all the DNA they needed?
So they decided to wing it and fill in the gaps with some bits of frog DNA? And Jeff Goldblum was all, ‘baaaad idea’ and he was pooh pooed and then ultimately vindicated when lots of people got eaten?
I may be heading for a Velociraptors in the visitor centre moment.
Below is a knit dress from Whistles that’s very similar to a black one I bought there in December. [Heavily discounted I hasten to add.]
My version has a waffle-y texture, bust darts and an exposed gold zip at the back. The skirt had several box pleats and two angled patch pockets.
As soon as I put it on it felt fantastic. Warm, easy and stylish. So I knew another version could easily find a place in my wardrobe. All I had to do was clone it.
Quite a few dressmaking bloggers try their hand at this and I’d successfully copied the spawner’s cardigan for Christmas. But the Whistles dress has a few complicating factors. For a start it’s black, so the details are harder to see through the paper and the combination of thick fabric featuring darts, pleats and a neck facing means it’s quite awkward getting a good outline of the shape.
Especially since I seemed to have come up with a method that flies in the face of received wisdom. For instance, Ali of The Wardrobe Reimagined wrote a great post in October about how she created a pattern by copying a blazer she already owned.
Essentially she laid out her jacket over a piece of paper, and pushed pins through the jacket’s seams so they made holes in the pattern paper underneath. After she had marked the seams and other key elements such as darts , she took the jacket off the paper and then used the holes to do a ‘connect-the-dots’ outline. Darts and other shaping features then have to be added to this piece.
As soon as I try to work out how to insert a dart in a piece of paper with no dart…my brain implodes. I know there MUST be a wonderful tutorial out there but I don’t think I can handle it yet.
So instead I improvised:
I measured the dart, drew it out on a piece of baking parchment (tracing paper-like) with a horizontal line at the base extended out, folded this dart up as if it was a piece of fabric, and then pinned the paper over the dress part I was trying to copy, with the paper dart lined up with the dress dart.
Once I’d pinned the paper onto the dress, I began to jab away at the seams through the paper with a pin, creating a connect-the-dots shape for me to join up. I then added the seam allowance.
The problem is, I think some of that frog DNA has crept in due to the difficulties in getting an accurate outline of the dress pieces. If I’ve got an accurate enough copy, then I could be on to a winner. Right now though, my inner Jeff Goldblum is very sceptical.